Top 100 Cebuano personalities: Max Surban
(The Freeman) - April 10, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Born and bred in Cebu City, Max Surban has for decades filled the airwaves with his storytelling and unique music. While the new generation might recognize his songs playing on the radio on Sundays and slow afternoons, the musical icon’s unmistakable sound has long since reverberated in the Cebuano sensibility.

Dubbed as the King of Visayan Songs, Surban began his career in the 60s, blessing listeners with his quick-witted lyricism that painted a vibrant and vivid picture of life. He translates his views on life, love, social and even political topics through his cheeky humor, glossing comedy with irony.

Surban always has his listeners straining to hear the next punch line, captivating audiences with his seemingly effortless storytelling.

He has churned out hits like “Turagsoy,” “Pasayawa Ko Day,” “Di Na Gyud Ko Mo-usab,” “Pasko sa Binilanggo,”  “Baleleng,” among many others.

Writing his own music, Surban has more than 35 albums for which he has earned Gold and Platinum Record Awards. Among his top-selling albums are “Magparetoki,” “Gihidlaw na Intawon Ako [Mitulo na],” “Dobol Trobol [with Yoyoy Villame],” “Nabali ang Krismas Tri,” “Ballroom to D’ Max” and “Baleleng.”

His music also ended up getting banned during Martial Law because of its alleged double entendre.

The novelty singer has worked with Universal Records, Vicor Recording Company, Alpha Records and ABS-CBN Star Records, collaborating with fellow Bisaya icons like the late Bol-anon legend Yoyoy Villame, Cebuana Pilita Corrales and BisRock band Missing Filemon.

Unfailingly bringing the house down with his rib-tickling compositions whether live or on playback, Surban has brought his famous music to the US, Canada, Australia, Norway and Austria. He was also one of the five outstanding Cebuanos recognized during the Halad sa Kinaiyang Sugbuanon in 2008.

Showing no signs of slowing down,  Surban – now 79 years old – last year sang “Gitik-Gitik” composed by director Khavn De La Cruz for his epic film “Balangiga: Howling Wilderness,” earning a Best Original Song nomination at the 2018 FAMAS Awards.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with